• A Delphic Introduction

    Author(s):
    Christopher Collins (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    Poetics and Poetry
    Subject(s):
    Cognitive poetics, Evolution of consciousness, Religions of late Antiquity
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Cognitive poetics. Evolution of the Self. Western religious & literary traditions.
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/24r4-d893
    Abstract:
    The essay below is a draft of the introductory chapter to a book tentatively titled “Psychopoetics: Religion, Poetry, and the Evolution of the Western Self.” This project is intended as the third volume in a series that I began with Paleopoetics (2013) and followed with Neopoetics (2016), both of which were published by Columbia University Press. As in the two prior studies, I will be examining how cultural, as well as biological, evolution conditions the cognitive processes employed by the verbal imagination. In researching the representation of personal identity, I came to realize how little I had ever thought about the nature of the self—my self, having always assumed that the self-concept I had grown up with was shared by every other human being. I soon discovered that, though we all share a number of deeply evolved traits, divergent cultural traditions generate different models of selfhood. The dominant Western self-concept, shaped by over a millennium and a half of Scripture-grounded theological debate, is in many ways peculiar to Europe and to European cultures across the globe. If, as I think it safe to say, every literary tradition reflects a culturally endorsed model of the self, it is lyric poetry with its first-person point-of-view that focuses most attention on the problematics of this topic. In the secular poetry of late medieval Europe, especially the sonnet, we find the earliest transcripts of the unresolved emotions we still recognize in ourselves, an inner conflict that the Christian doctrine of the self made unavoidable. **** This essay will give you a sense of my project. I invite your comments and welcome your recommendations. Contact: cc3@nyu.edu
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    7 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial
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